''The Wild West of Wyoming'' June 29 2016
A real life travelling story from Erin Trester
Every fellow ‘wander luster’, like myself, I believe has that one trip that stands a part from the rest, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be a jet setting, round-the-world experience. While those are amazing, and as I type this I can proudly say that I’m halfway to my goal of saving up for my trip to Greece, but every traveler began somewhere, and this is my beginning.
When I was 13 my family and I traveled to Europe and toured all of England and parts of France. That’s when the travel bug first bit me, but unfortunately after that amazing trip my traveling experiences staggered. Mainly due to being young, and lack of funds, which still seems like an ever-growing issue even to this day.
Until the summer before my senior year of high school, my best friend and I planned a westward bound trip from my tiny town in Minnesota to the Wild West in Wyoming.
Maybe you were expecting me to share another lavish European vacation or maybe a relaxing trip to the Caribbean, but when I really think of an inspiring, reflecting and truly life changing trip, my mind will always go to Wyoming.
My best friend and I planned this trip in two weeks, pulled our funds together, hopped in a car and set off on our adventure.
This was the first trip I went on without family, which looking back on it, made me not afraid to travel or alone or even just with one other person. We drove through the plains of South Dakota, and after more than 15 hours on the road we finally arrived to our destination.
We were greeted by a tiny, cement-floored cabin with four little bunks built bunk-bed style, but when we started looking at our surroundings closer we saw something truly stunning.
Beyond the tree line you could see the awe-inspiring view of the Grand Tetons, and my best friend and I had a front row seat. It was, and still is to this day, one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. I’m not a religious person, hell I’m barley spiritual, but this view was something that made you believe that something greater than anything we can imagine built this. I’ve never seen water so pure, breathed in air so clean, and saw snow capped mountains in the middle of July.
We began the trip with a hike up the Grand Tetons, as I am not an expert hiker this was a bit of a challenge, but I was definitely up for it and was not going to miss that view. Even better, I was hiking with my best friend who had a brilliant idea that once we get to the top we would have a little picnic. So, if you can picture two teenagers filling their backpacks with snacks, wine, and one bottle of water.
Yes, I repeat, only one bottle of water. Definitely not our finest moment, as drinking wine after climbing partially up this mountain was not the smartest, but we still laugh about that experience to this day. Remembering that the closest thing we had to water was pear juice from a fruit cup, and how we never tasted anything so good.
We also spent the trip kayaking the Snake River by the Grand Tetons, made a journey to Yellowstone National Park, and on the way back home traveled through the Badlands and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
Traveling and experiencing wonder doesn’t necessary need to always be a globetrotting event. Even traveling close to home or within your own country can change your life and fulfill your wanderlust craving. Traveling out west with my best friend taught me the value of traveling with little money, but still having one of the best experiences of my life. It taught me to be spontaneous, and going through life without a plan can sometimes pay off. It made me value nature, and how truly wonderful the country I live in is.
It’s an experience that I know neither of us will ever forget, and while our next best friend’s trip is going to be in Ireland, and we’ll both continue to travel the world, I think part of our hearts will always be out west.